Baldrige Loses Public Funding

Foundation, partners look at options to sustain program

Despite months of lobbying to convince lawmakers to keep funding the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, Congress and the president approved a bill late last year that eliminates $9.6 million in federal funding to the program for 2012.

Yet at least for this year, the program seems safe. The Baldrige Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization that supports the program, has agreed to maintain its operations through this year.

In years past, the program’s budget was comprised of federal dollars and funds from the Baldrige Foundation. The public dollars represented about 19% of the Baldrige program’s $51 million in total annual resources. The program is also supported through application fees and the services of nearly 1,000 volunteers.

The program had already started making contingency plans and formulated a strategy during the past year in case federal funds were eliminated, said Harry Hertz, the program’s director.

"We’re preparing a business model and business plan that don’t rely on federal appropriates for sustainability," Hertz told supporters in a blog post last month.

That includes cutting and simplifying some program activities, and streamlining processes related to the award process, examiner training, the Quest for Excellence conference, the Baldrige criteria booklet production and logistics. "Although this shift is challenging, it brings us exciting new opportunities," Hertz said.

The program and its partners—including the foundation, the Alliance for Performance Excellence and ASQ, which administers the program—will continue to consider business and funding models to sustain the mission of Baldrige for the long term, said ASQ CEO Paul Borawski.

"We all know that the Baldrige criteria offer tremendous value in driving performance excellence throughout the country," Borawski said. "It is the top program for driving performance excellence across every sector and type of organization, and for making our business, healthcare, nonprofits and educational institutions more competitive, more efficient, and more successful in generating and sustaining positive outcomes."

Four Honored as 2011 Award Recipients

Three of the four organizations that received the 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award were from the healthcare category.

The recipients, announced Nov. 22, include: Henry Ford Health System of Detroit, Schneck Medical Center of Seymour, IN, and Southcentral Foundation, Anchorage, AK, in the healthcare category. It’s the first year in which three healthcare organizations have been selected for the Baldrige award.

The fourth 2011 recipient was in the nonprofit category: Concordia Publishing House of St. Louis.

"The four organizations recognized with the 2011 Baldrige award will serve as role models … for every American organization that strives for a higher standard of performance and never settles for second best," said Commerce Secretary John Bryson.

Recipients will receive the awards at a ceremony in April. For more information about the recipients, visit www.nist.gov/baldrige/baldrige_recipients2011.cfm.


Manufacturers Still Worried
About Unstable Economy

While 66% of manufacturers expected to experience revenue growth this year, many said the recovering economy remains a major hurdle to their operations, according to a recent ASQ survey.

More than 70% of those who responded to ASQ’s 2012 Manufacturing Outlook Survey said they experienced revenue growth in 2011. In the previous year’s survey conducted in late 2010, 67% had hoped to experience revenue growth in 2011.

Despite the positive revenue outlook, manufacturers continued to be wary of the global economy, citing the housing market and fears of a double-dip recession.

In addition to fears about the world economy, manufacturers said the lack of a qualified workforce is inhibiting their ability to grow: 44% said finding qualified applicants is the biggest hurdle to filling vacant positions, while 27% said their budgets are the biggest hurdle to filling open positions.

For more survey results, visit www.asq.org/media-room.


Berwick, Quality Advocate,
Leaves Post as Head of CMS

It was no surprise to anyone when Donald M. Berwick’s 16-month stay as acting chief of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quietly ended last month, when he officially stepped down from the post.

Everyone knew the days were numbered for the well-known healthcare quality and efficiency expert, but backers said they believed he still accomplished much during his short tenure.

"Don has led the agency as we have launched exciting new programs that are saving money, fighting fraud, transforming our healthcare delivery system, providing new benefits to people with Medicare, holding insurance companies accountable to consumers and working to establish affordable insurance exchanges," Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told the department in late November while announcing Berwick’s departure.1

Berwick became CMS chief in July 2010 under unusual circumstances. Expecting Congress was going to turn Berwick’s nomination hearings into a heated debate over the then recently passed Affordable Care Act, President Obama installed Berwick to the post as a temporary recess appointment that didn’t require Senate approval. Berwick’s term was set to expire at the end of last year.

Berwick had become a lightning rod for controversy because of what his critics said were extreme views on socialized medicine, including rationing healthcare and capping spending.

Many said he successfully led the CMS through several challenges facing Medicare and Medicaid while implementing integral provisions of the Affordable Care Act. CMS staffers said they were energized by the in-house quality improvement work Berwick initiated, training 200 staff members to continuously hone the agency’s performance. He also led the drafting of a first-ever agency mission statement calling for the CMS to be a force for the continual improvement of health and healthcare for all Americans.2

Berwick encouraged the 5,400-person staff to get out into the field regularly and see how the agency’s work affects patients and providers. Staffers said those visits have given them valuable insights into making policy.3

"He has focused everyone around patient needs and patient care. It’s hard to imagine that won’t continue to be the guiding North Star," said Richard Gilfillan, the acting director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, a new CMS division created under the Affordable Care Act.4

In a final interview with the New York Times before his departure, Berwick said 20 to 30% of health spending is waste that yields no benefit to patients, and that some of the needless spending is a result of archaic regulation enforced by the agency. 

"Much is done that does not help patients at all, and many physicians know it," Berwick said.5

Obama planned to nominate Marilyn Tavenner, a former nurse and Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources, as Berwick’s replacement. She was Berwick’s principal deputy, and early reports indicated she would probably be confirmed. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said Tavenner was "eminently qualified" to run the CMS.6


  1. Noam N. Levey, "Facing GOP Opposition, Berwick Will Step Down as Medicare Chief," Los Angeles Times, Nov. 23, 2011, www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-berwick-resign-20111123,0,2074266.story.
  2. Harris Meyer, "Now Departed From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Berwick Receives High Marks for His Tenure at Agency," Health Affairs, November 2011, Vol. 30, No. 11, http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/early/2011/11/29/hlthaff.2011.1243.full.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Robert Pear, "Health Official Takes Parting Shot at Waste," New York Times, Dec. 3, 2011, www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/health/policy/parting-shot-at-waste-by-key-obama-health-official.html?_r=2&hp.
  6. Associated Press, "House Republican Leader Eric Cantor Says Obama’s Medicare Nominee is ‘Eminently Qualified,’" Nov. 29, 2011, www.washingtonpost.com/business/house-republican-leader-eric-cantor-says-obamas-medicare-nominee-is-eminently-qualified/2011/11/29/gIQAxRsO9N_story.html.


Education Teams Honored

Three K-12 school districts and one higher-education institution received Education Team Excellence Recognition Awards at the 2011 National Quality Education Conference (NQEC), held in Indianapolis in November. Recipients included:

Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District in Honeoye Falls, NY, which received a Distinction Level Award for district implementation of a new budget prioritization process following its second consecutive year of facing a 14% budget shortfall.

Pewaukee School District in Pewaukee, WI, which received a Distinction Level Award for using a variety of quality improvement tools to train teachers to better incorporate technology into their lesson plans.

Ramaiah Institute of Management Studies Bangalore in India, which received a Distinction Level Award for moving beyond the universal practice of looking only at grades to measure student performance.

Westfield Washington Schools in Indianapolis, which had two teams that received Finalist Level Awards. The first team was recognized for Summer ROCKS, a K-8 outreach program designed to maintain retention of learning during the summer months.

The second team at Westfield received an award for a project that focused on moving away from a less successful "teaching for the test" model to creating a common instructional checks assessment, which it believes offers a more meaningful formative assessment.  

This year’s NQEC will be held Nov. 11–12 in Louisville, KY. For more information, visit: http://nqec.asq.org/index.html.


Quick Poll Results

Each month at www.qualityprogress.com, visitors can take an informal survey, and we post the results.

Here are the numbers from a recent Quick Poll:

"What’s the best way to promote yourself and advance your career?"

  • Pursue education and training. 32%
  • Network with colleagues. 31.3%
  • Be active in professional groups. 17.1%
  • Earn and maintain certifications. 17.1%
  • Keep résumé updated. 2.5%

Visit www.qualityprogress.com for the most recent poll question:

"What government area could most benefit from a dose of quality this year?"

  • Budget and deficit.
  • Food safety.
  • Healthcare.
  • Military.

Author Audio

This month, listen to an interview with Bill Scott and Mark Krempley, co-authors of this month’s cover story, "Safe and Secure," discussing more about the risk management cycle used by a federal agency.


JIM BOSSERT AND SISTER MARY JEAN RYAN will be awarded ASQ’s Distinguished Service Medals at this year’s ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement May 21-23, 2012, in Anaheim, CA. Bossert will be honored by ASQ’s Board of Directors "for his desire to help others learn and succeed in the quality profession; and for his sustained service to ASQ to improve the process and methods" ASQ uses. Ryan will be honored for her efforts in "extending the reach of quality into the healthcare profession, and by living a role-model life that demonstrates the heart of quality in service to humankind."

THE ANSI-ASQ NATIONAL Accreditation Board has acquired Forensic Quality Services Inc. (FQS), expanding the organization’s range of conformity assessment services to include accreditation of forensic testing agencies. FQS has provided ISO/IEC 17025 accreditations to forensic testing agencies in the United States. The ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board is retaining the FQS name and its employees, who are located in Tampa, FL.

Who’s Who in Q

NAME: Louis "Bud" Salsbury.

RESIDENCE: Phillips, WI.

EDUCATION: Associate degree in applied engineering technology from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Rice Lake, WI.

CURRENT JOB: Quality assurance manager, Takco Manufacturing.

INTRODUCTION TO QUALITY: Salsbury was introduced to quality in 1986, when he was asked to start a receiving inspection area in a manufacturing facility and not given any direction. Salsbury not only built the area, but also trained many employees on inspection through the years. He also studied various ASQ publications and other sources to train himself in quality technology.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: At the same company where he was introduced to quality, Salsbury worked his way up through the quality department and eventually became a quality technician—level three. He also passed exams to become an ASQ-certified quality technician and quality inspector. Salsbury established a metrology laboratory to ensure calibration of measuring equipment at the company. He learned much about the quality profession at this company, including becoming familiar with standards from the International Organization for Standardization. He wrote more than 30% of all the quality management systems procedures and helped lead the company to ISO 9001 certification.

ASQ ACTIVITIES: He is a participating member of the U.S. technical advisory group to ISO/technical committee 176/SC3 and also contributes to ASQ’s Ask the Experts program.

OTHER ACTIVITIES: Salsbury consults for companies that are interested in pursuing ISO 9001 compliance and certification.

RECENT HONORS: Recognition of certification from the American Gear Manufacturers Association in January 2009. Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certificate from Mountain Home Institute in May 2011.

PERSONAL: Wife of 27 years, Marge, and two adult sons.

OTHER ACTIVITIES: Organic gardening, fishing and spending time with his wife.

QUALITY QUOTE: Quality begins in childhood. During the formative years of an individual or the initial development of a business, practices and habits are established that can be carried through the life of the person or business. When we establish good quality practices at an early stage, we are building on a solid foundation.



The number of members ASQ has recognized for their work from 2000 to 2011 in referring 100 or more colleagues for ASQ membership. These members are:

  • Karl J. Bultsma Sr.
  • Jose M. Cayuela.
  • Edwin A. Garro.
  • Richard D. Heller.
  • Kuang Kok Hoo.
  • Rajinder P. Kapur.
  • Hesam A. Kashfi.
  • Edwin G. Landauer.
  • Cherry Ann
  • Francis Lau.
  • Evandro G. Lorentz.
  • Carlos R. Monell.
  • Jose Rodriguez Perez.
  • Jimmy L. Smith.
  • Cindy J. Walters.
  • Kok Seng Yong.

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